2012 Economic Calendar
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Retail Sales  
Released On 8/14/2012 8:30:00 AM For Jul, 2012
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Retail Sales - M/M change-0.5 %-0.7 %0.3 %0.0 % to 0.4 %0.8 %
Retail Sales less autos - M/M change-0.4 %-0.8 %0.4 %0.1 % to 0.7 %0.8 %
Retails Sales - $ level401.515 $ billions
Retails Sales less auto - $ level328.524 $ billions
Less Autos & Gas - M/M Change-0.2 %-0.4 %0.5 %0.3 % to 0.7 %0.9 %

Major gains sweep the retail sales report for July, a month that benefited from an easy comparison with a very weak June. Total retail sales rose 0.8 percent for the strongest rise since February with ex-auto sales also up 0.8 percent for, again, the best showing since February. Ex-auto ex-gas the gain is 0.9 percent for the best showing since January.

All components show gains including motor vehicles, general merchandise, health & personal care, furniture, and restaurants. Clothing also shows a significant gain, one that points to strength for the back-to-school season.

Stock futures are moving higher on this report which is far above expectations. Still, however, it's important to remember that the gain in July follows a steep decline in June and two prior months of declines. The consumer was back in July but whether this signals a pivot higher for spending is still an open question.

Consensus Outlook
Retail sales in June were much softer than expected, including auto sales which contradicted manufacturers' numbers for the month. Retail sales in June fell 0.5 percent, following a 0.2 percent decrease in May. Motor vehicle sales dropped 0.6 percent, following a 0.8 boost in May. Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales decreased 0.4 percent after declining 0.4 percent in May. Gasoline sales were a big factor, dropping 1.8 percent, following a 2.0 percent fall in May. Sales excluding autos and gasoline in June slipped 0.2 percent, following a 0.1 percent dip in May. Core sales showed widespread weakness in June.

Retail sales measure the total receipts at stores that sell merchandise and related services to final consumers. Sales are by retail and food services stores. Data are collected from the Monthly Retail Trade Survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Essentially, retail sales cover the durables and nondurables portions of consumer spending. Consumer spending typically accounts for about two-thirds of GDP and is therefore a key element in economic growth.  Why Investors Care
Nearly 75 percent of the time, changes in monthly retail sales are between +1 percent and -1 percent. However, there are many months in which the monthly change falls outside that range. Most of the time, excessive increases or decreases are due to higher/lower spending on motor vehicle sales. Year-over-year changes in retail sales can be volatile as well, but tend to be smoother than monthly changes.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

2012 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/122/143/134/165/156/137/168/149/1410/1511/1412/13
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov

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